Friday, July 13, 2007

Lady Bird Johnson

I feel I'd be remiss without saying something about the passing of Lady Bird Johnson this week. This noble woman was a genteel and supportive first lady to LBJ, a humanitarian, and a dedicated environmentalist whose passion was promoting beautification of public landscapes. She promoted the Highway Beautification Act, which sought to limit billboards; in other humanitarianism, she advocated of the Head Start program to promote early education for kids.

Lady Bird founded the Lady Bird Wildflower Center in Austin, whose mission is the research and preservation of native plants throughout the United States. This wonderful organization had a great deal to do with the lovely bluebonnets that Texans get to enjoy every spring in Texas. I think just about every Texan kids' parents pulled to the side of the road to get a photo of them and their siblings sitting in a sea of bluebonnets. It's such a Texas thing...

Lady Bird was also a graduate, like her husband and I, of The University of Texas at Austin, so I feel a sense of kinship with her. I was very lucky to have met Mrs. Johnson and her lovely daughter, Lynda Johnson Robb, at an event in 1996 - Hilary was campaigning for Bill in Austin, and I attended with Sarah, who brought me into the green room. I was also very fortunate to have met Hilary, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, and several other amazing and influential Texan women, as well. But Mrs. Johnson's spirit was lovely, and her heart filled the room - I'll never forget it.

Rest in peace, Lady Bird Johnson.


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